Frequently Asked Questions About Workers' Compensation

Most employees do not think about workers' compensation and how it protects them until they suffer a workplace injury and need to receive benefits while they are unable to work. At that point, there are a number of questions that injured workers often have.

" Do I qualify for workers' comp?" and " Why do I need an attorney?" are two common questions that are answered elsewhere on this website. Other frequently asked questions are answered below.

Who pays for workers' compensation insurance?

Workers' compensation insurance is paid entirely by the employer. No payroll deductions are taken out of individual employees' paychecks.

How do I file a claim?

First, report your injury to your supervisor or employer as soon as possible. Your employer will provide you with a claim form that you can use to describe your injury, as well as how, when and where it occurred. Return the completed form to your employer, who will send it to the California Department of Industrial Relations for review. The law requires you to provide your employer with a notice of your injury within 30 days of the date of injury.

Can I choose any doctor to treat an on-the-job injury?

Employers may create a medical provider network (MPN) to control medical treatment for work-related injuries. If your employer creates an MPN, you must treat within the network for a work-related injury. You may be able to avoid treating within the network if you "predesignate" your primary physician or surgeon to treat you for a work-related injury.

I don't think I am receiving enough workers' compensation pay. How is that determined?

The amount you receive is determined by your average weekly wage at the time of your injury. The amount can include amounts for fringe benefits or even compensation from a second employer if the injury has affected your work for the second employer. It is important to note that pain and suffering are not covered under workers' compensation.

Lost wages are often a concern for an injured worker. If you are concerned about what you are owed, you should contact an attorney.

Can I receive state disability insurance (DI) and workers' compensation benefits simultaneously?

A worker who is hurt on the job, has an accumulative medical condition due to occupation, or has an existing work-related medical condition that has become aggravated can file a disability insurance claim, but he or she usually cannot receive both workers' compensation and disability insurance benefits for the same period of time. There are exceptions, however. For example, DI benefits may be paid if the employer or employer's workers' compensation insurance carrier denies or delays benefits. If the employee's workers' compensation weekly benefit amount is less than the worker's disability insurance weekly benefit amount, the worker may be eligible to receive the difference. If disability insurance does issue benefits while a workers' compensation case is pending, a lien will be filed to recover those benefits when the workers' compensation case is settled.

Can I be terminated for filing a workers' compensation claim?

State laws prevent employers from discriminating against an employee who files or threatens to file a workers' compensation claim. An employer may be liable for increased compensation and possible reinstatement with back benefits if it is found to have violated this policy. Discrimination by your employer resulting from an injury may also give rise to civil actions such as claims with the California Department of Fair Housing or the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission.

Schedule A Free Consultation To Have Additional Questions Answered

If you have questions regarding workers' compensation or permanent or temporary disability, our Stockton state disability benefits lawyer can answer them in a free consultation. Call the Law Office of Ronald M. Stein Attorney at Law at 209-751-4370 or email us to schedule an appointment.